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Best Engagement Photoshoot Locations in SoCal | 7 Favorite Photo Spots

Updated: Feb 6

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SoCal Engagement Photoshoot inspiration by Paper Birch Collective, California Wedding Photographer in Orange County

Welcome to our blog! Are you searching for the perfect place to capture your love story in Southern California? Whether you love the beach, city lights, historic charm, grand architecture, or a simple natural beauty, there are so many amazing wonderful locations to choose from. Today, we will share 7 locations we love here in Southern California for Engagement photoshoot sessions and why they are some of our favorite spots for capturing stunning images. We will also quickly explain why you NEED an Engagement session along with some helpful photoshoot tips. Plus, don't miss out on our FREE Engagement photoshoot deal (see at the end)!

SoCal Engagement Photo of wedding ring by Paper Birch Collective, California Wedding Photographer in Orange County

This is Why You NEED Engagement Photos

First things first, let's discuss why you NEED to have an Engagement photoshoot session. There are several reasons why you will not regret getting professional portraits of you and your partner. Engagement photos are more than just a fun way to celebrate your love and show off your ring. They are also a valuable opportunity to capture your unique relationship, connect with your wedding photographer, as well as prepare for your big day.

Read more about our top 5 reasons why Engagement photoshoots are important and why you should book one now in this blog.

Need Tips for Your Engagement Photoshoot?

Here are some of our "Best Tips & Tricks" for your Engagement session. Plus, read about our top favorite photo spots in Southern California!


Our Top 7 Favorite Photoshoot Spots for Engagements

If you are one of the lucky couples who has recently said “yes” to your partner, a huge congratulations to you and yours! Now, you might be feeling a mix of emotions from excitement to maybe a little bit of anxiety. Before you get busy with all the wedding details, don’t forget to schedule one of the most exciting and special parts of your engagement: THE PHOTOSHOOT. Below are some of our favorite Engagement photoshoot locations (along with our some of our fave photos, perfect for those who need inspiration!). We hope this blog is helpful for you on this special journey!

# 1. The Beach:

📍 Treasure Island, Victoria Beach, Newport Beach

Nothing says California like a trip to the beach. The soft sand, blue waves, and clear skies always make for a gorgeous backdrop for any Engagement photoshoot. *PRO TIP: Golden hour (one hour before sunset) is our absolute favorite time to capture engagement memories at the beach. We love how romantic images turn out from the warm soft glow of golden hour. Not to mention, there are many beautiful beaches in SoCal to choose from, but here are some of our local favorites:

  • Treasure Island: This beach is located in Laguna Beach and is managed by both the city and luxurious Montage Resort. It is a true gem of Orange County with its picturesque rock arch, grassy cliffs overlooking the ocean, calm tides year-round, cleanliness, accessibility, and low foot-traffic. Treasure Island is one of our favorite spots for enjoying the sunset and capturing golden hour love. The sweeping views of SoCal's coast is a beautiful backdrop that we will never grow tired of!

  • Victoria Beach: Another Laguna Beach gem, this beach is loved for its tower that looks like a fairy tale castle. Some also refer to this iconic tower as a "Pirate Tower". What's cool about this photo location is that the scenery changes with the seasons. Tide levels increase and decrease throughout the year, which result in more rock formations in the winter with low tides and more sand in the summer with high tides. It is important to note that the walk down to Victoria Beach is not the easiest as there are multiple steep flights of stairs. (But if you can make it, it is definitely worth the little hike!)

  • Newport Beach: Last, but not least, Newport Beach has some of the most stunning sweeping beach views. If you like a more lively and urban vibe, Newport Beach is a great option! This beach is famous for its surfing, but you can find a variety of scenes here. From the pier and the boardwalk of hotels, shops, and restaurants, to the boats and the palm trees. If you just want the beauty of sand and sea in your photos, Newport Beach is the perfect spot for your Engagement photoshoot.

*Read this blog for helpful tips & tricks for your sunset golden hour engagement photoshoot at the beach!

# 2. Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

📍 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA, 92501

Loved for its breathtaking Spanish Mission style architecture, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is a prestigious destination full of rich history and classic elegance that will make your Engagement photos feel like a fairy tale dream. Fun fact: this historic hotel is a National Historic Landmark and member of the Historic Hotels of America. We love this spot's different courtyards, grand archways, fountains with intricate details, colored tiles, and lush gardens. Not to mention, its beautiful architecture and European charm is great for making intimate lifelong memories with your fiancé. You will surely be able to find the perfect spot for your engagement photos here. Look no further than the majestic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa if your style is history, Spanish Mission-style architecture, and grand romance. We are absolutely in love with how dreamy and beautiful our engagement photos here have turned out!

P.S. - The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa also offers a wonderful variety of packages for couples who want to extend their stay overnight or even enjoy the heavenly spa services.

# 3. Pasadena City Hall

📍100 Garfield Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

For a more elegant and sophisticated vibe, Pasadena City Hall is a beautiful location to have your Engagement photoshoot. Located in the heart of Pasadena, this iconic city building was designed with a Mediterranean Revival style and incorporates elements of Italian Renaissance architecture. It features a stunning dome, a grand staircase, and a big fountain, which are all great photo backdrops. The city hall also has a lovely courtyard with luscious palm trees and vibrant flowers that add a nice touch of nature to your photos. Overall, Pasadena City Hall is a gorgeous historic building with stunning architecture, rich history, and is a great Engagement photoshoot location. We love capturing romantic wedding memories here as well!

FUN FACT: Did you know that Pasadena City Hall is a favorite in Hollywood! The building has been used as a filming location for a number of iconic movies and television shows, including Parks & Recreation, the original Batman television series, and The West Wing.

# 4. Mission San Juan Capistrano

📍26801 Old Mission Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Another beautiful photoshoot location full of rich history, culture, and charm is Mission San Juan Capistrano. Did you know this stunning historical landmark was founded more than 200 years ago in 1776 and is the birthplace of Orange County? This historic site is one of the oldest and most picturesque missions in SoCal. We absolutely love its rich history along with the serene ambiance of the stunning gardens, aged arches, koi fish filled fountains, and distinct historic ruins. If you're a fan of historic architecture and a vintage look, then this is the perfect location for your Engagement photos. The mission also has a museum, a gift shop, and a chapel that you can visit.

# 5. LA Arboretum

📍301 North Baldwin Avenue Arcadia, CA, 91007

For a more natural vibe, the LA Arboretum is a wonderful photoshoot location. This whimsical botanical garden is a paradise for nature lovers. It is home to a variety of plants, flowers, and trees from around the globe. It is even a sanctuary to some endangered species (it's so fun to observe to peafowl*). For the history lovers, the garden is also the site of some major California historic architectural landmarks. We love this location because you can enjoy a different scenery in every corner, from the rose garden and the waterfall, to the bamboo forest, crescent farm and the peacock habitat. There is such a beautiful variety of nature and endless amounts of picturesque backdrops for your Engagement photos. Not to mention, the peaceful and tranquil ambience of LA Arboretum is a great place to bond and relax with your partner. Plus, every season there is something new blooming, from the large trees to lush plants and vibrant flowers everywhere, you will always have something stunning to see! If you love a backdrop filled with nature, then this is the Engagement photo spot for you!

*FUN FACT: Did you know that peacocks are males and females are peahens? Together they are peafowl!

# 6. Quail Hill Trailhead

📍 34 Shady Canyon Dr, Irvine, CA 92603

Quail Hill Trailhead is one of the more secluded photo locations on this list. It is perfect spot to have fun hiking, take in the view, take pictures of nature, and of course, capture great pictures. There are usually never any crowds, so it is a great photo location for you if you prefer a private photo shoot. It is an easy accessible hike for friends, families, an even furry friends to also enjoy (walking shoes are recommended). With the cool breeze flowing through your hair, you’ll feel like a real model on this trail! The landscape differs with the seasons, but it never fails to be a great backdrop. In the spring and rainy season, the trail blooms with vibrant yellow flowers. During the dry season, there may not be any greenery, but you can count on dreamy golden vibes from the rolling hills. Overall, Quail Hill Trailhead is a both a fun and stunning Engagement photoshoot spot as well as perfect for those who want some more privacy.

# 7. Jeffrey Open Space Trail

📍 13252 Jeffrey Rd, Irvine, CA 92620

Another great option for nature lovers is the Jeffrey Open Space Trail in Irvine. This beautiful 3.5-mile paved trail is ideal for those who want greenery in the backdrop of their Engagement photoshoot. The trail is very accessible and also great for walkers, runners, or cyclists. It is filled with plenty of lush foliage and greenery everywhere, which makes you feel like you have escaped into nature, yet you are right in the middle of the city of Irvine. The trees provide nice shade for hot days and it can be fun experimenting with light leaks peeking from the tree leaves. We

FUN IDEA ALERT: Turn your Engagement photoshoot day here into whole date! After your photoshoot session, check out one of the many nearby scrumptious restaurants. Mokkoji Shabu Shabu is one of our favorites!

Thanks for Reading!

Thanks so much for reading our blog! We hope you enjoyed it and found some inspiration for your Engagement photos. As you can see, there are many amazing locations in Southern California to choose from. We are sure you will find the photo location that fits your style as well as expresses your unique and special love. If you need any help with planning or capturing your Engagement photos, please feel free to contact us. We are a professional and passionate wedding photography team, and we would love to be a part of your love story! Plus, check out our limited-time and exclusive FREE ENGAGEMENT PHOTOSHOOT DEAL down below.

Enjoy this Blog?

Read our other blog to see our tips & tricks for some of our favorite photoshoot locations in California!


Free Engagement Photoshoot Deal by Paper Birch Collective, California Wedding Photography Team in Orange County

Limited-Time FREE Engagement Session Deal

Do you want a FREE Engagement Photoshoot with us?!

Contact our team today + book any Basic (and above) Wedding photo package by March 31 to get a complimentary Engagement photoshoot!

**P.S. Hurry before we book up this Engagement Season!


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